Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is important to understand what is involved in a Boston rental inspection. Learn more about what to watch out for in our latest post!
There are a number of times when a property inspection may take place. inspections are done when a tenant is moving in, moving out, and one or two times throughout the year. For the annual inspections, sufficient notice is required before the inspection takes place. Inspections can also be conducted if the landlord or tenant believe there is a problem with the property. The inspections are typically done by the landlord, a property manager, and in some cases by the tenant. Below, we will discuss what is included in a typical rental inspection as well as the responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.
A thorough inspection by the landlord or tenant should cover all aspects of the rental property from top to bottom.
- Electrical – Electrical switches should be checked as should any fans within the unit. It is also a good idea to do a quick test of the outlets using a small lamp or your phone charger.
- Plumbing – Check all faucets for good water pressure. Flush the toilets to make sure they drain properly and don’t run after being flushed. This is also a good time to look for mold and mildew around the faucets and pipes.
- Structural – Check the walls for cracks, holes, and chipped paint. Make sure there are no water stains on the ceiling or signs of mold anywhere thought the property.
- Smoke Detectors – All smoke detectors need to be checked and in good working order. One should be located in any common areas, in the kitchen, and in each bedroom. At the very minimum, one should be located on each floor of the home. You should check your detectors every 6 months. Many people make it a point to do this when the time changes each year.
- Kitchen – In the kitchen, look for damaged countertops, floor tiles, and porcelain. Make sure the stovetop, oven, and refrigerator are all in working order.
- Bathroom – Look for chipped tiles, scratched mirrors, and damages to any of the fixtures. Make sure the sinks work and drain properly.
- Doors – Make sure all doors open and close easily without sticking. All exterior doors need to be lockable.
- Windows – Windows should also open and close easily, and be lockable from the inside. You’ll want to make sure both the doors and windows are properly sealed.
- Closets – Check all the closets throughout the house. Make sure doors are properly hung and that shelving and the closet bar is properly hung.
- Heating and Cooling – Be sure to check the heat to make sure it is coming through all vents. If there is also air conditioning in the home, make sure it blows cool air from all vents and that the filters are clean.
- Pests – Check in cupboards, on shelving, it the attic, the garage, and out of the way places for any signs of an infestation. You wouldn’t want to move into your home and find out you aren’t the only one living there.
Things That Can’t Be Seen
Depending on the property and the type of inspection being done, you might need to call in a professional. Some things cannot be seen and need to be looked at with someone who specializes in the field. If there are signs of termites or other pests living in the home, a specialty inspection may be required. Same goes for things like sewer pipes and the septic tank. There are also specialty inspections to test the geology of the property. The ground is tested for soil contamination, and to determine if the property will be susceptible to things like flooding or landslides.
The Landlords Responsibility
The landlord is responsible for providing a safe and well-maintained home for their tenant. The landlord needs to perform maintenance to the property as needed and make repairs when they arise. Just as if a tenant were to violate the lease, if a landlord is in violation, the tenant can break the lease and move out without penalty.
The Tenants Responsibility
Many times when a renter moves into a new unit, they will be given a checklist and asked to note any problems they find within the unit. Once the checklist has been completed, the owner or property manager will review the reported issues fix as needed. If you are a tenant, this is your chance to protect yourself for when it’s time to reclaim your security deposit. If you don’t list a problem when you move in, you may be liable for it when you move out.